Ontario Drug Reform - One Year Later

    TORONTO, June 27 /CNW/ - One year after Ontario introduced a
comprehensive package to reform its publicly funded drug plans, a review of
the promises made and kept produces an overall grade of 65%. The report
"Ontario Drug Reform - One Year Later" was prepared by patient groups and
advocates who assessed the status of 26 distinct commitments.
    Of the 26 commitments, 10 were fully implemented, 7 were partially
implemented, 8 were not implemented and the status of 1 commitment remains
unknown. Partially implemented refers to commitments that are clearly underway
with enough momentum to ensure completion. Seventeen commitments were fully or
partially implemented.

    -  Progress was slower than expected, especially for the commitments to
       benefit patients. Those were scored at 60% implemented or partially

    -  While many commitments for transparency were kept, some important
       commitments such as disclosure of the rationale for drug decisions
       were not kept. The commitments relating to transparency were scored
       at 70% implemented or partially implemented.

    -  Commitments to improve the operations of the drug system were scored
       at 65% implemented or partially implemented. These are system
       management and cost saving initiatives to find $222 million that would
       permit reinvestment in drug programs.

    The Transparent Drug System for Patients Act or Bill 102 was signed into
law on June 20, 2006. The Honourable George Smitherman, Minister of Health and
Long-Term Care, called this legislation the cornerstone of the government's
comprehensive plan to reform Ontario's drug system. The 26 commitments were
part of the government's 5-part plan to:

    -  Strengthen the governance and operations of the public drug system,
    -  Improve access for patients to drugs,
    -  Promote the appropriate use of drugs,
    -  Reward innovation,
    -  Strengthen Ontario's position as a customer to get value-for-money.

    The full text of the report can be found on the websites listed below.

For further information:

For further information: Frank Viti, The Asthma Society of Canada, (416)
787-4050 ext. 109, www.asthma.ca; Mary Kim, Canadian Arthritis Patient
Alliance, (416) 979-7228, www.arthritis.ca/capa; Holly Vengroff, CARP-Canada's
Association for the 50Plus, (416) 363-8478 ext. 240, www.carp.ca; Colleen
Savage, Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada, (416) 538-4874,
www.canceradvocacy.ca; Dianne Azzarello, The Centre for ADD/ADHD Advocacy,
Canada, (905) 944-8327, www.caddac.ca; Lembi Buchannan, Why Choice Matters,
(416) 922-0202, www.whychoicematters.com

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